Tag Archives: how i learned to stop worrying and love st louis

Travelogue 2.

Don’t worry, guys! I’m safely in the clean, smooth air of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Land of Enchantment, indeed. While I haven’t passed out from altitude sickness, I did get up to pee, like, 3 times last night. Apparently, that is a thing that can happen when your body starts dealing with its continued existence at an altitude higher than it is used to (please see: “I have lived at the beach my entire life.”)

Now that I am stationary, I have some time to actually edit photos and think (siesta. It’s great!) In this installment, I’m going to think about how much I liked St. Louis, Missouri. “How much?”, you may wonder. “A lot”, I will say. In fact, much to my east coaster chagrin, I found much of Missouri to be really agreeable. Bully for you, Missouri.

Thursday was our hanging out in St. Louis day so Joss and I wasted no time getting up and out of the Mt. Vernon, Ill. “Thrifty Inn”. We postponed breakfast until we hit the city and thank goodness for that because our breakfast at Rooster was made all the more delicious when given to an empty and thankful belly. We marveled at the fact that we both felt so much better being in a bigger city where we blended in with our surroundings.

My impressions of the STL are that it is clean, likes colorful Mustangs, is fairly easy to bike around, and encourages you to play on everything. Touching and playing with abandon are not New England values (Puritans, amirite??) so to see the city encouraging fun and interaction within an urban landscape through things like CityGarden or signs that say “Have a picnic in the park!” was really nice. It also made me wonder what is/was responsible for this divergence in attitudes. Is the mid-west just not as litigious? Or are east coasters just no fun? A weird tax break? Help me out, you Saints of Louis!

I especially liked this building and the International Fur Exchange. The make ’em big out here.

Norman Mailer sez that graffiti is “your presence on their Presence… hanging your alias on their scene” (1974.) I swell with thoughts about what writing yourself onto a symbol of rough and tragic westward expansion means. A critique? A redemption? An alliance?

We visited the Gateway Arch National Park, stood a safe distance away from the animatronic exhibits in the history museum, and spent a lot of time looking up. But not too much time because the goal of the day (as well as one of those “life goal” things I have) was to visit the City Museum.

I’m proud to say that I was able to put fear and dignity aside and jumped, swung, climbed, cavorted, slid, and rode on pretty much everything. I could gush about this place for hours and I was bumming like a little kid when leaving time rolled around. I wish we had something like this in Providence. I appreciate it when someone goes ahead and builds a renegade playground in an abandon building or makes to a two story fun house for Halloween. This is the same thing, but on a professional level. Like, with money. And more skill. Steel Yard, Colonial Knife building… I’m looking at you guys. If you want a Temporary Autonomous Zone for Dummies, look no further than City Museum. And for further reading on TAZ, go here.

10 story slide down the central building shaft, ending in the pipes of a salvaged player organ. In the dark. Perfection.

View from the 3 story tall Ferris Wheel atop the 11 story tall building.

Bear in mind that not all Autonomous Zones have giant ice cream cones. 😦

So, there are garbage jungle gyms, there is a vintage clothing store named “The Bale Out” (a nod to vintage clothes being shipped around the world in actual, 1 ton bales. I have seen it with my own eyes, folks!), a huckster/midway/oddity/arcade area, and, to top it off, an architectural salvage exhibit. This is where I go when I pass from this world.

Marbles. Not architectural, but still cool.

Oh man, do I want this or the Gamewell Fire Box fist as a tattoo? Is it tasteful to have 2 tattoos that are shooting out lightening?

After funtime, we drove over to Cherokee St. to visit Apop Records and eat burritos. Apop is everything you want from a record store (you can even get your Dave Public tapes there!) and La Vallesana is everything that you want from a taqueria. Period. QED. Full stop.

Seriously, I had so much fun in St. Louis. I’m looking for a reason to go back and bring everyone I know. Stay beautiful, Rome of the West!

Tagged ,
%d bloggers like this: